Back in the day – OK, the early 2000s – “Car Talk” was a staple of my Saturday morning routine, particularly on the drives from Santa Cruz to San Francisco for a Giants game. I’m not a cars guy, but the show struck a chord with me. Maybe the appeal was that the hour-long show seemed mostly to be about two brothers from Boston engaging listeners in some yuks with vehicle car tips mixed in for good measure.
Co-hosts Tom and Ray Magliozzi are retiring come fall, but NPR is going to continue to cash in on the popularity of the pair, also known as Click and Clack, the Tappet Brothers. An NPR executive acknowledged that “lots of people discover public radio through ‘Car Talk,'” and make their first contribution to the organization because of the show, so it’s only logical to rebroadcast old episodes in remixed form.
Yes, I get the revenue reasoning – think newspapers and “Peanuts,” for example – but this move feels a little off. Do listeners really want to hear a 1988 show with dated references? Ratings, and more importantly, fund-raising success, will decide.
Len La Barth
A newspaperman reads and reflects.